Nattily clad men, and a woman, in blue blazers and walking barefoot at the Mysore Palace drew the attention of many on Vijayadashami, which marks the culmination of the grand Dasara festival in Mysore. They were present at the spot of the Vajra Mushti Kalaga (wrestling) inside the palace which precedes the departure of the scion of the Mysore royal family Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar to the Sri Bhuvaneshwari temple, a small distance away, to offer puja to the Banni tree.
They are black-belt karatekas from different karate schools in Mysore, specialising in the shito-ryu style. They form a close ring around the scion, right from the wrestling akhada to the Bhuvaneshwari temple, to “protect” him from any unnecessary attentions.
M. Rambo Kiran from the Sports Karate Association of Mysore, is also a police karate instructor.
He told The Hindu that the karatekas were “pleased to offer this service.”
They hold each other’s hands to throw the cordon around Mr. Wadiyar right from the spot from whence he leaves to the temple and back. The only departure this year was that Mr. Wadiyar travelled the distance from the palace to the temple by car instead of taking his silver chariot.
After reaching the temple, most of them stood guard at the entrance of the temple while their managers, Nagaraj and Satish Raj, and Shankar from the Mysore Karate Association, kept an eye on them, instructing them to regroup in a jiffy, as soon as Mr. Wadiyar emerged out of the temple back to the palace.